“We create happiness.” This was the vision installed by Disney executives when they first opened Disneyland in 1955, and that vision has carried through to today. It permeates through business operations, starting with the training given to new employees.
Marketers working in a business where a customer-focused mission is not already in place may feel that they have an uphill battle, but in reality it’s an opportunity to make a bigger impact by aligning the organization around a new purpose. The marketer’s role in shaping and communicating this customer experience vision is one that inverts their usual focus. Instead of marketing the business to their customers, they will be marketing their customers to the business.
Creating a common language
Customer experience initiatives rely on different teams interacting with each other and sharing knowledge more frequently. In some instances, these teams may never have interacted before and as such, communication will be a large barrier to break down.
Each team with have its own terminology that is common tongue to those within it, but alien to outsiders listening in. The same goes for the choice of communication tools and the cadence of communication between team members.
When shaping a customer experience program, marketers should be should be asking themselves:
- How can I create a common language that speaks to everyone?
- How can I demystify data and make it accessible for all?
- How can I help everyone in the business see that they’re contributing to the bigger vision?
Setting a common language that the entire organization can understand is vital to ensuring early buy-in, sustaining momentum, and driving culture change.
There are three main benefits of developing and fostering a common language:
- A shared understanding of expectations and purpose across the organization that results in more frequent communication and fewer misunderstandings.
- A stronger sense of culture and identity that helps employees feel like they are part of a community and that their work is contributing to something bigger.
- Customers will hear more consistency throughout their interactions with the organization.
Finding the champions and building a team
To build a successful and sustaining customer experience program, marketers must start by acknowledging that they won’t be able to do it all by themselves.
Marketers should look for key individuals across the organization to become recognized champions of the customer experience. By building a centralized team, marketers will be able to ensure that all the necessary inputs are being fed into the program and that the members can provide quick access to the data and insights needed to build a broad view of the customer experience.
This team should be made up of people who are either already championing data within the organization, are strongly networked with a track record of driving change, or have regular interactions with customers to add the necessary frontline insights. Practically speaking it should be a mixture of practitioners, analysts and decision-makers, with representation from product, marketing, sales, account management, customer support, IT, finance, legal and HR.
The individuals within this cross-functional team would be brought together regularly to discuss and tackle the issues relating to customer experience. These individuals would still spend the majority of their time with their dedicated teams with the added expectation of implementing customer-focused thinking to their work and their teams work.
Marketers might also need to help create a dedicated team who are solely focused on the customer experience. This team would be responsible for the ongoing collection and analysis of data, the distribution of insights across the organization and, ultimately, running the projects that shape and improve customer journeys.
Being centered around the same data
It may not seem like the most exciting goal to aspire to, but at the heart of any successful customer experience program is consistency.
The digital universe is continually expanding. With it emerges new touchpoints and channels to support customer interactions, each generating their own data that tells its own story about the customer.
A greater number of touchpoints means that more teams are becoming responsible for managing customer interactions. While organizations can aim to implement top-down policies to inform consistency, it’s ultimately in the hands of many different individuals to make it a reality.
We’ve moved past the point where being quick to respond is enough to keep a customer satisfied. Research by Gartner showed that “measuring satisfaction on customer journeys is 30 percent more predictive of overall customer satisfaction than measuring happiness for each individual interaction”.
Without the ability to bring all the data together, organizations have no way to really understand if they’re delivering consistency for their customers, let alone how to improve it at scale.